Super Bowl champion and bold conservative Burgess Owens spoke at Hobart and William Smith Colleges this week as part of Young America’s Foundation’s nationwide campus lecture program. After an inspiring speech on leadership, the importance of conservative ideas, and an optimistic outlook on America’s future, Owens took questions from the packed student audience.
One student challenged Owens on the statistics he cited about the black community, asking if he blamed the “socioeconomic effects of systemic racism” which are “a lot more far reaching and engrained in American society than mere personal prejudice” for problems in the black community today.
“Too many black Americans don’t know the statistics I just talked about,” Owens told the students. “How many people know [black Americans] led the country is entrepreneurship? If we can do that in the middle of Jim Crow laws, what can we do today when we can go anyplace we want to?”
“I grew up in the deep south during Jim Crow segregation laws. I can tell you how racism looks, how it feels, and what it means. You guys today can go anyplace you want to–any restaurant, any college. We just had a [black] president for eight years guys, elected by Americans. There is nothing you cannot do today based on your tenacity. Can we guarantee success? No. We shouldn’t. What we guarantee is the opportunity to work for it.”
“The biggest thing about success that I’ve learned, is that only when I accept the challenge and recognize the person who defines me is looking myself in the mirror, only then can I drive my future.”
“What I loved about my community when I was growing up is the amount of entrepreneurs. I saw them everywhere. And what entrepreneurs are saying is, ‘I’m not going to wait for somebody to give me this. I want to start a business, I’m going to take a risk. If I fail, I’m going to get back up and do it again.”
“If I can tell you as someone who came through the days of segregation, we have never had it as good as we do right now. If all you’re hearing is how bad things are, day in and day out…you’re going to believe bad things.”
Burgess Owens’ optimistic, fact-based, conservative outlook on the future of all Americans is sadly lacking on many college campuses, to the detriment of students. While the Left continues to play into its self-inflicted victim mentality, bold conservatives such as Owens are living examples of the attainability of the American Dream.
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